"Humor Me" says Robert S. "Bob" Wieder

Friday, July 29, 2005


I've been thinking about NASCAR ever since I read that their board of governors, or shop stewards, or whatever group makes NASCAR's policy decisions, had given their okay to a new car sponsor: Butt Paste. It turns out that Butt Paste is a perfectly respectable and well-established brand of skin cream, although I expect the phrase has a rather different meaning in prison.

Sponsorship is to NASCAR, of course, pretty much what it is to NBC or the Beverly Hills Country Club: absolutely indispensable. The idea, obviously, is to cover as much of the race car's painted surface with sponsors' logos as is physically possible, until these vehicles have become, at least visually, little more than high-speed billboards with fire suppression systems.

I recall reading an article last year about the economics of NASCAR sponsor logos, especially the amounts paid according to the size and placement thereof on the car, and the numbers would knock you off your stool. Not just how huge they are, but how...detailed and specific. This is not just rolling metallic real estate, but rolling metallic real estate on the Malibu level, and they break things down in a most meticulous manner--this added value for a redwood deck, and that for an atrium--as happens when the money is several stories high.

Thus there is one placement fee rate per square inch for your front bumper, top, and another for your front bumper, side, and an altogether different set of numbers for the rear bumper, and as for the hood, well, if you have to ask, you might as well just lay down in front of the car because you don't belong here. Who does belong here? Hmm, let's see: current NASCAR sponsors include Ford, Daimler Chrysler, General Mills, Coke, DuPont, Nextel, Georgia-Pacific, Allstate, Duracell, Gillette, Kodak, Jack Link’s, Ice Breakers, Wal-Mart, M&M, Kingsford, Pedigree, Kellogg, Smirnoff, UPS, Mobil, 3M, Pfizer, Amazon, Office Depot, and Budweiser among others. And now, of course, Butt Paste.

Which raised, for me at least, the question of whether or not just any product with sufficient long green can plaster its name on a NASCAR racer. NASCAR events have a demographic that becomes more widespread and inclusive every day, but at its heart, which is located right next to its pocketbook, it is a Red State invention, phenomenon, and cultural possession. Those in the corner offices at NASCAR would no more readily offend or alienate their base than would those in the policy wing at 1600 Pennsylvania, and they are dealing with essentially the same base. Wholesome, patriotic, conservative, Christian, family-values folk. There are certain logos, certain products, certain organizations, certain...just...things..that would simply not be acceptable on their closed-track cultural icons.

In fact, a few years ago a marketing studies outfit called Performance Research of Newport, R.I. conducted a nationwide survey of NASCAR fans asking which sponsors they would consider most inappropriate for a Winston Cup car. As it turned out, the least acceptable, in descending order of tolerance, were: condoms, Penthouse magazine, Absolut Vodka, Mitsubishi televisions and, dead last, politicians. Except for the politicians, I couldn't begin to make sense out of these priorities. Then again, I can't particularly argue with them except on libertarian grounds.

In any case, I mentioned this recently to someone at Playboy, and he asked me to contact someone in authority at NASCAR and ask that person if there were any sponsorships that the NASCAR brass wouldn’t permit. The answer, unsurprisingly, was Yes. Beyond that, however, the functionary I spoke with insisted on bobbing and weaving, and whichever potential sponsor I specified--a Vegas casino, Michael Jackson, Colt Firearms, the Church of Scientology, political candidates in general--the answer was, with little variation: "We would have to consider that on a case-by-case basis." There was only one suggested sponsor that he frankly admitted NASCAR would, in fact, not accept. Playboy.

So NASCAR's official position in regard to many specific sponsor applicants remains as murky as the soul of Karl Rove. But based on the typical NASCAR family, the bedrock of the sport, and what that family approves of and does not, and would have in its home or family and would not, I think the following very partial list is fairly reliable.

OK.................................NOT OK

Butt Paste.........................Butt Plugs
Hardee’s...........................Antoine’s Quiche Nook
Dolly Parton.......................Rosie O'Donnell
Guns & Ammo / Motor Trend........Glamour / Bon Appetit
Delta Airlines.....................Air France
Fed Ex.............................FourEx
Castrol GTX........................Oil of O Lay Personal Lubricant
Paul Newman........................RuPaul / Paul Reubens
ESPN / Fox.....................BET / Oxygen
Grecian Formula....................Massengale Douche
Boy Scouts of America..............NAMBLA
Good Guys..........................Good Vibrations

Feel free to jump on in here with further entries, if you have nothing better to do.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Flex Plexico is:

A) The clinical term for premature and advanced deterioration and stiffening of the ligaments;

B) The name of a kids' TV cartoon android superhero;

C) A manufacturer of high-end deep sea fishing rods;

D) The name of a Defense Department spokesman.

Answer: D. (Source: Newsweek, 7/25/05, p. 9.)


2006 may seem to be a way off, but when you’re up to your neck in scandals, it’s never too soon to start campaigning. I would merely like to suggest that The Hammer consider the following slogan suggestions based on what could be some of the salient, and in some cases downright nagging, issues when the campaign heats up next year. I realize that some of these might prove to be somewhat counter-productive, but then, that’s exactly why I’m urging him to give them a try.

Unindicted For [__] Days
Ethics, Shmethics
Judges? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Judges!
The Candidate Of The Brain Dead
Oh Yeah, Like You'd Turn Down All-Expenses-Paid Luxury "Junkets"
Having Family On The Payroll IS a "Family Value”
Integrity You Can Take To The Bank. He Did.
He'll Tell You When You Can Die
If He Goes Down, He's Taking This District With Him
Thou Shalt Not Dump God's Congressman
Better a Crook Than a Democrat
Just A Reminder: He Knows Where You Live

Sunday, July 17, 2005


I just read a lovely news item in the Florida Sun-Sentinal today (7/17) about how a Christian adoption agency in Mississippi will not accept adoption applications from Catholic families because the Catholic church does not square with the agency's particular Christian mission statement or parochial interpretations or, I don't know, choice of priestly garb, perhaps. The point is, the Church of Rome is not sufficiently Christian for the Christian adoption agency.

To my way of thinking, there should be a very important message in this for all those people who would love to make this "a more Christian nation," especially among the GOP's hard right theological base. The message: There's always going to be someone "more Christian" than you. Someone whose definition of "true Christian" excludes you. Someone whose Christianity is purer or more literal or more doctrinaire or excessive than yours is. And--here's the point--they will never be satisfied with half measures. Those at the far extremes never are.

Hamas may be ready to sit at the table with Israel, but that just marks them as apostates and weaklings in the eyes of Islamic Jihad, who simply will not settle for anything less than every Jew, Christian and Hindu dead as a carp. The Utah desert is alive with wild-eyed ravers who will never forgive the Latter Day Saints for their satanic abandonment of polygamy. Leninism always degrades into Stalinism.
Whoever you are, in a contest of ideological/canonical purity, there will always be someone for whom you are a perfect candidate for the fires of hell. Especially because you are the serpent inside the tent.

The Catholics seem particularly steamed that the Christian adoption agency is funded in part by proceeds from the state's Choose Life license plates, many of which are purchased by anti-abortion Catholics. I would suggest they be far more concerned that some of their protestant allies in the crusade toward an America run by, of, and for Christians do not in fact consider them legitimately as such.
Personally, nothing would make me happier than to see a nice internecine theological and ideological turf war rending the Christian right. It's time we were handed a few red-meat wedge issues for a change.

Saturday, July 16, 2005


Sending...sending...sending...if there's anyone out there, I'm QXL145 here in Queensland, Australia. We've not heard a word from the northern hemisphere since...

Whoops, just channeling chapter 16 of "On The Beach."

As a great sense of detachment, much like that which Tom DeLay feels for the truth, begins to lift like a haze from my little moonlet in the vast blogiverse, two brief items.

1) There was a report in the news last week that scientists now believe they have the means to artificially "grow" meat--beef, chicken, pork, the usual suspects--through a kind of culturing process, in the laboratory. There would be all manner of benefits to this--no pharmaceutical adulteration, no PETA bombers, etc.--but I couldn't get past the quaint fact that there was a news story headlined "Lab Grown Meat" that wasn't about steroids.

2) It wasn't until I saw that "we're still pals" commitment photo of Bush and Rove walking so chummily across the White House lawn yesterday that I was struck by the revelation, looking at the two of them, of just exactly who and what they are: It's Spanky and Alfalfa, folks, all grown up and running the country.